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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Daily news & Analysis

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Proposed EHR Certification Program Won't Inhibit Innovation, Says Blumenthal

By: Andrea Kraynak, for HealthLeaders Media, March 3, 2010

When writing the interim final rule on standards and certification criteria for EHRs, the ONC strived to balance competing agendas, David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, the national coordinator for health information technology, said at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society 2010 Annual Conference and Exhibition in Atlanta.

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HIT Leaders React to Proposed EHR Testing and Compliance Rule

By: Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, March 4, 2010

Healthcare IT leaders are already praising some aspects of HHS' proposed rule for testing and certifying EHRs, praising the decision to eventually turn the certification process over to the private sector, a fast-track certification timeline, and the ability for organizations to eventually certify EHRs from multiple vendors. The proposed rule would create a two-phase certification program.

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Obama Asks Congress to Pass Health Reform Bill Soon

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, March 3, 2010

President Obama, saying it was neither "practical nor realistic" to go back to square one with healthcare reform as suggested by the GOP, is asking Congress to move ahead on healthcare—using a simple majority vote—and provide him with a bill that he could sign within the next few weeks.

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Obama Backs Reconciliation Without Actually Saying the Word

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, March 4, 2010

The most notable message presented in President Obama's White House healthcare reform speech on Wednesday is that the next step for Congress would be to seek passage of legislation using simple majority voting—in other words, the reconciliation process. However, during his 15-minutes speech in front of many healthcare professionals, he never actually used the controversial "R" word.

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Health Courts Could Become Tort Reform Option

By: Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, March 3, 2010

In his letter to congressional leadership on Tuesday, President Obama—under fire from the GOP for not better addressing tort reform in current healthcare legislation—called for funding alternative demonstration projects, such as health courts, for resolving medical malpractice disputes. Health courts, virtually unknown in the U.S. but used in other countries, could provide an alternative to jury trials in current medical malpractice cases.

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DC Hospital Will Fire Four More Nurses for Missing Work Because of Blizzard

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, March 4, 2010

The president of a Washington (DC) Hospital Center said Wednesday that findings from an internal review have prompted the hospital to begin proceedings to dismiss 15 nurses for missing work because of a blizzard. The hospital initially planned to discipline 11 nurses, but has added four to the list since it launched an investigation last week.

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Many Flaws in Medicare Part D's Fraud Prevention, Says HHS Inspector

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, March 4, 2010

Though five years into the Medicare Part D drug program, CMS' efforts to root out fraud and waste are still "limited in scope and may not sufficiently protect the program," a federal inspector told Congress on Wednesday. "Lack of effective oversight exposes the Part D program and Medicare beneficiaries to a wide range of fraud, waste, and abuse, including inappropriate billings, payments for excluded drugs, drug diversion, improper bid submissions, excessive premiums, and illegal marketing schemes," Robert Vito, a regional inspector general for HHS, told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

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Sebelius, Congress Demand Answers on Health Insurance Rate Hikes

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, March 4, 2010

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius meets today at the White House with leaders of health plans that she has sharply criticized for proposing extremely high rate increases on individual markets. Meanwhile, a congressional oversight and investigations panel announced it has broadened an inquiry into insurance practices involving four of the nation's largest for-profit health insurance companies.

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Four Rival Texas Hospitals Bond For Meaningful Use And To Improve Care

By: Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, March 3, 2010

Here's a tale about the unlikely collaboration among hospitals in four fiercely competitive and very rural towns in Central West Texas.

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ACOs May Lead to Health Insurer Partnerships with Physicians, Hospitals

By: Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, March 3, 2010

Some believe that Accountable Care Organizations may jumpstart healthcare plans into a new cosmos of care, and would be truly emblematic of bringing everyone together as partners.

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Successful Physician Retention Must Start During Recruitment

By: Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, March 3, 2010

Physician retention begins at the earliest stages of the recruitment process—and any marketer can get involved.

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